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Better Know a Judge: Lester Griffin, the Guy Who Scored It 30-27 for Forrest

(Scorecard image courtesy of BSurely. Click to enlarge.)

UFC 106′s Griffin/Ortiz rematch was a tricky one to judge, not just because the first two rounds were fairly even, but because it was contested both on the feet and on the ground — and as we’ve seen many times in the past, MMA judges can have vastly different opinions on the relative value of each aspect of a fight. In the end, Glenn Trowbridge saw it 29-28 for Tito Ortiz, while Marcos Rosales had it 29-28 for Griffin. The deciding vote was cast by a guy named Lester Griffin, who, from his angle, witnessed a one-sided shellacking. His 30-27 score for Forrest Griffin was later described as "crazy," "outrageous," and "insane" by Dana White. Lester was the only judge who scored round 1 for Forrest, and (along with Rosales) credited the second frame to Forrest as well, which is arguably an even more controversial choice.

So who is this guy? As jkd4200 pointed out, Lester Griffin is known to some as "Surf Dog," an original member of the full-contact stick-fighting collective Dog Brothers. Warning: What you’re about to see may shock you…

(Surf Dog is also at the top of this post doing a weapons form with an eight-foot wooden pole.)

Of course, there’s more to Lester than brutal stick-fights…

— He has an insane amount of martial arts certifications, including a spot in the Filipino Martial Arts Hall of Fame and a Chuck Norris Membership Card.

— He began judging MMA in 2000, and made his first UFC judging appearance at UFC 58.

— He bought his first pair of throwing knives in 1973.

— He runs a martial arts school in San Jacinto, where he teaches the most effective aspects of various styles to form a complete fighting system.

Yes, he may seem a bit eccentric. And judging from his scoring of the Griffin/Ortiz fight, he may be one of those guys (like Cecil Peoples) who completely checks out once the fight hits the mat. But as much as Dana White disagreed with Lester Griffin’s opinion, the UFC’s hands are tied — if you don’t like it, you can complain to Keith Kizer.

Cagepotato Comments

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UFC fan- November 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm
"WuTangClan Says:
Tue, 11/24/2009 - 21:20

You gotta be one insecure motherfucker to say "no homo" after such a normal statement as that."

says the man who sees homos in every post and has the gayest fucking nick ever. how much dick did you suck in the 80's to get that awesome nick pal?
WuTangClan- November 24, 2009 at 9:20 pm
You gotta be one insecure motherfucker to say "no homo" after such a normal statement as that.
matahtak- November 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm
I guess this Lester Griffin guy doesn't judge heart and soul. You know, maybe he should have taken into consideration that a fighter gives it 120%, even with injuries like what Tito had. Tito gave his heart and soul to the fight man. How many fighters come back from spine fusing surgery or whatever to compete against one of the top 5 light heavyweights in the world. Heart and soul man, that's what Tito gave to that fight. You know, this isn't just some game to him being a fighter is what he does. Tito gives heart and soul and Lester should have judged the fight on that and taken the heart and soul into consideration. Heart and soul.

*Josh Koscheck rolls eyes*
Chri534.- November 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm
The weird thing is, none of them scored the fight correctly. It should have been 30-27 Forrest. He won rounds 1 and 3, and the 3rd round was a 10-8 round. How the hell do all three judges mess that up?
Darkside- November 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm
@fight fan & baldmidget

"Somebody please put this retard in a Star Wars background fending off lightsabers."

"Well, I can tell you this. The average obese MMA fan (read UFC mark) who has not trained a day in his life, yet balls his fist up in every photo would easily be able to put on his freshly washed (by his mother) TapouT shirt and whoop this Lester fella like a post reincarnation brock lesnar operating at 100%*."

MMAMoneyLine- November 24, 2009 at 11:20 am
We need some "MMA people" to judge these fights. Not karate people, not TKD people, not boxing people, not stick-fighting people...MMA people.
Krazy Kracker- November 24, 2009 at 10:46 am
Why are these judges such awkward twats? First there was "Master" Cecil Peoples and now this guy fondling his wood. It surprises me this isn't a bigger issue in the MMA community. As long as we pay judges who don't know what the fuck they are watching to give asinine decisions we can never cry foul about "upsets" and "robberies". It's like going to a football game where a team edges a win but we have a Downs Syndrome scorekeeper who "just doesn't know any better" and we all kind of grudgingly accept it.
shitbag- November 24, 2009 at 10:08 am
Just look at this!!!

He lists "People I Like" on his website, just look who is listed first! Its right on his website!!!

* Cecil Peoples
* Dog Brothers
* Erik Paulson
* Gene Lebell
* Gladiator Magazine
* John McCarthy
* Jon Robinson
* Steve Mazzagatti

Griffin Martial Arts
Fred Reeva- November 24, 2009 at 9:46 am
If these guys really wanted to up the ante. They would smear a little dog shit on the end of those sticks. That's what we did in my day.
Kittarl- November 24, 2009 at 9:36 am
who the fuck are these judges, what a twat.
baldmidget- November 24, 2009 at 9:20 am
If a train leaves las vegas at 4:00pm for new york, and a donkey leaves new york at 6:00pm to vegas... wherever they meet, they can agree that giving tito the fight 29-28 is more dubious than giving it to forrest 30-27.

nuclearblast- November 24, 2009 at 8:58 am
Griffin won the fight for sure.

But let's use this scoring as an example of how a fight could be rigged.

Let's say you buy judge Griffin to make Forrest win. Lets also say that Tito won the first 2 rounds.

1st round is happening...the judge is rigged so it got to give the round to Forrest no matter what.

2nd round, this is pretty much the gotta give the round to Forrest, just in case there's a point deducted or a 10-8 at the last round.

3nd round now... the judge would LOVE to make the total fight @ 29-28 so it look less suspicious...but if Forrest clearly won the round it would be even more suspicious, so he give it to Forrest.

We're seeing quite a few of these suspicious 20-18 @ first 2 rounds but it always seems to be only one judge and you need 2 to buy a decision.
NomadRip- November 24, 2009 at 8:53 am
There is a whole lot of funny in these comments today.

Dog Brothers is no joke. Forrest won. Tito was done after the 2nd round. Even if he decidedly won the 1st, it would be sad to call that a win, as he was basically a punching bag for the last 5 minutes, faring only slightly better in the facial-damage area of life than Baroni did.
jickstick- November 24, 2009 at 8:47 am
didn't realize Tito is actually called Jacob?!
OiScout- November 24, 2009 at 8:44 am
Didn't someone also score 30-27 in favor of Tito in their first fight?
baldmidget- November 24, 2009 at 8:39 am
Well, I can tell you this. The average obese MMA fan (read UFC mark) who has not trained a day in his life, yet balls his fist up in every photo would easily be able to put on his freshly washed (by his mother) TapouT shirt and whoop this Lester fella like a post reincarnation brock lesnar operating at 100%*.

*on ufc unleashed
Crap Factory- November 24, 2009 at 8:30 am
Or you could not let it go to the judges at all.

I didn't think it was a bad fight and I still think Forrest won.
One Two- November 24, 2009 at 8:23 am
Thats a horrible idea, forest won not because he won all three rounds but he dominated the 3rd its a Pride style win. judge the fight not the rounds.
Fight Fan- November 24, 2009 at 8:20 am
Somebody please put this retard in a Star Wars background fending off lightsabers.

Poor judging will ruin MMA. As it is, it is only a sport until the judges are involved, then it becomes a mere exhibition.

I've said it before...after the 3rd or 5th round, give a moment to the fighters to decide who won. If they can't agree or if they agree it's too close to decide, then go to the judges. When you're in a fight, you know wheter you won or lost, and a real martial artist will own up every time.

Isn't there supposed to be a notion of integrity and honour in MMA? This is the way to work it into the sport.
Tai-Pan- November 24, 2009 at 8:19 am
Everything in French means homo...
Deathb4tapout- November 24, 2009 at 8:15 am
Does Griffin in french mean Homo?
TheRealKadumel- November 24, 2009 at 8:02 am

I love that comment that is hilarious, no homo.
punchguyinface- November 24, 2009 at 7:51 am
30-27... hmmm, doesn't anyone see the name relation here? lESTeR and foREST. I mean, come on people, it's right there.